Alum Transforms Roasting Passion into Business

By Kelsey Browne, Student Correspondent The Office of Innovation Creativity and Entrepreneurship

Coffee hits both a personal and entrepreneurial nerve for Wake Forest 2011 graduate, JT Peifer. It's been his lifelong joy after trying the drink in Mombasa during the 5th grade. His original liking didn't stop at a love for the flavor, either. JT worked every job, including manager, barista, and roaster before taking on the role of college entrepreneur. feisty

For JT, roasting coffee is what beckoned him to going into business. His mission for Feisty Goat is "to share high quality and transparently sourced coffee from around the world that is approachable, rare, and excellent." He does this by buying single origin 20lb bags of coffee and roasting to-order in 12 oz. increments. There are 3 different categories of coffee that customers can choose from, including the red, green, and black line labels. The "Red" Ethiopia Goma is Feisty Goat's most common coffee and the Green and Black Lines are more rare but coming soon.

Impersonal business strategy doesn't jive with the Feisty Goat Coffee Roasters. JT includes a signage section on the back of the coffee bags he mails to consumers, titled "This is a Workspace," which is an invitation to write, doodle, and design. Also, whenever he receives a new coffee he places high value on immediate feedback. For instance, after he initially tastes he offers the trial coffee freely to interested parties. He coins this process as the 'Broken Bag Beta,' and has received various suggestions, comments, and praises all while learning from other coffee enthusiasts.

Peifer originally secured funds from the Center for Innovation, Creativity and Entrepreneurship in 2010 to help launch Feisty Goat while he was a student majoring in English with a minor in Entrepreneurship and Social Enterprise. Peifer also received a Richter scholarship during his time as a student to travel to Kona, Hawaii, to study the specialty coffee industry. It is exciting to see how a student's personal passions have developed into a successful venture. To contact him, visit the website at